How Successful People Stay Calm by Dr. Travis Bradberry at LinkedIn on 5 August 2014.
Being a leader can be stressful at times – what can you do about it? Some stress is good – it can motivate us to perform. If the stress is too great, or it is there for too long of a period, your performance will start to suffer, and so will your ability to lead others. The author provides several strategies that successful people use to control stress:
- The appreciate what they have (helps puts things into context)
- They avoid asking “What if?” (fewer aspects to worry about)
- They stay positive (there must be something good – can you focus on that?)
- They disconnect (don’t look at that Blackberry when you are doing other things such as spending time with family or relaxing)
- They limit their caffeine intake (no triple espresso for them!)
- They sleep (recharge that mental battery)
- They squash negative self-talk (be careful of the words you choose – the ones that you use to communicate with others but also the ones you use to communicate to yourself)
- They reframe their perspective (switch from a negative mindset towards finding the positive of the situation)
- They breathe (focussing on your breathing can be a mini meditation system, put it relaxes your body, helping to release some of that stress)
- They use their support system (very few people can ‘go at it’ alone, and even then it will not last for a long time. Just talking about the issue with someone can help you feel better, plus you may get a new perspective on the solution)
Okay – many of these I fully agree with, but others not so much.
#2 – I can see why this made the list, but I would save that as a last resort. Personally, if I can think ahead to lots of potential outcomes, I am actually better prepared to take action when the results come in. For me, the value of a plan comes not from the plan itself, but rather the thought process that went into it. Think back to your exam days – were you more worried when you studied lots, or studied little?
#3 – I consider this a really weak cousin of the much better #8 – perhaps it was used to make an even 10.
#5 – Not my coffee!!! In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake (a stressful situation), coffee was my fuel as I sought to think about all the “what-ifs” in generating a new set of plans to deal with the change in the security situation. Having said that, I admit that I really had to start cutting back after the first month because the cumulative effect of at least 10 cups of coffee per day (I wish I was exaggerating) was starting to take its toll… These days, I limit myself to a more reasonable 2-3 cups.
#11 – The article didn’t have one, but it should have. EXERCISE!!! Not only does it make you feel better (really – the endorphins are amazing), but there have been many times that the answer to a stressful problem suddenly materializes.
At the end of the day, a stressed out leader benefits no one. Do your team (and yourself) a favour and try at least one of these techniques the next time you feel stressed.